Mastering the Design Process

Design Presentation Agenda

Paul Boag

Paul Boag

Mastering the Design Process

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The "Design Presentation Agenda" Lesson is part of the full, Mastering the Design Process course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul walks through the main steps of a design presentation, including recapping stakeholder decisions and collaboration, design testing, and preempting objections. Ending a presentation while downplaying design sign-off and providing ample time for stakeholder feedback are also discussed in this segment.


Transcript from the "Design Presentation Agenda" Lesson

>> Little bit about how to prepare that video to get the most out of it. First of all keep it short no more than 20 minutes ideally nearer 10, right, it's got to be really short and snappy. Secondly, cover the same basic information as your main presentation, I'll get on to that in just a minute.

And then at the end, we're gonna ask some really structured questions in the video, right, to replace that what do you think of it? And we're gonna get on to that in just a second, all right? So that video really, really useful tool, highly recommend it, definitely, definitely do that.

You can just use something like Loom to record it, which makes it really easy to do. So how do we know the presentation itself? How do we get that moment? We've got to present this design. This is a big thing to designers, getting approval for a design. So if you follow my advice about speaking to those stakeholders individually, and you've engaged stakeholders through the process, then really this is just a formality.

Suddenly that big scary presentation, that most designers dread, becomes nothing, really it becomes trivial in comparison, right? And it's almost a box ticking exercise. Everybody will be on board, no problem. So before showing the design, cover the following. The decisions, recap the decisions that have been made already.

Cover things like your brand key words, your value proposition, your success criteria, decisions that were made around content, all of that stuff, start with that. Next, talk about how you collaborated, right? Revisit any design assets that you produced together with your other stakeholders such as your style tiles, or any user attention point exercise, or anything like that that you did, right?

And then finally, cover any testing that you've covered, that you've done, card sorting exercises, five second test, first click tests, all of that. That recap is vitally important, right, and it's vitally important for two reasons. Number one, it triggers the commitment bias, right? So this is a psychological thing that people have, right?

Which is if we have agreed to something previously, if we said, we think that's good, we don't like to then change our minds. We like to remain consistent with what we've previously committed ourselves to. So if we've said we agree to these brand words, if we've said we agree to these design principles, if we said we agree to the style tiles, to go back on that now, people will lose faith, and they don't wanna do that.

So that's why you need the recap. And then secondly, the methodology talking through that methodology provides reassurance. It shows the process that has led to the design you're about to present, right? So now, when we come to presenting the actual presentation itself. First of all, we wanna reference previous work that we've done, right?

Point out so you're showing, you've put the design on screen now, okay. For the first time they're seeing it. The very first thing you do is you run through how the design reflects previous work that's been done. So, you can see here how we've used these colors from this style tile.

And we've used this typography from this style tile. And the layout represents what we did in the wire frame. And the brand keywords are shown through these elements on the page, and this is the content that we agreed. And here it all is, and it's all brought together.

Again, this triggers that commitment bias. Secondly, we're gonna preempt those common objections, just like I said earlier. Don't wait for stakeholders to express their objections. Once they've objected out loud, they're gonna unlikely to back down from that. So instead we're gonna get ahead of those and cover any objections in advance.

And then finally, we're gonna emphasize how much we've tested this design, and what it's gone through, right? Easy, [LAUGH]. Honestly, I swear to you, you do it like this, you will not get objections, right? By this stage, you will get no pushback over the design. And I say this, I've mentored agency, after agency, and after agency, and when I first tell people this, they look at me with utter disbelief like I've gone mad, right?

And they do it I said, just do it once, just try it once in the method that I've said, and you will get design sign off first time. And they try it, and they do. It really does work, there is no reason for you to get stuck in iteration help.

So how do we end our presentation, right? There's two things I'm gonna suggest, but the first one is going to probably everything I say today is gonna freak the most people out. Are we ready to be freaked out? That got everybody's attention right? Downplay or remove design sign off, okay?

One of the things that we do is we tell people, right, okay, now it's time to sign off the design, are you happy to sign it off? Why do we do that? If in print that makes total sense because you then wanna send it to print, and hanging stuff after the fact is a major nightmare, right?

But in designing in digital, it's not, we could change the colors later it wouldn't be the end of the world it's the linings of the CSS. We could change the typography and it wouldn't be disastrous, right? There's a lot that can still be changed in the design relatively lightweight, we just need to know we're in the right direction.

And yeah, it would be vaguely inconvenient if the client started changing things. But not as inconvenient is what happens when we require sign off, and we make a big deal out of it, right? The bigger the deal that we make out of it, the bigger this decision to sign off becomes in the minds of our stakeholders and clients.

If I say to you, I need you to pick which coffee you want today, what type of coffee would you like, right? It's no big deal, you can always call me when I get down to the Starbucks and change your order if you want to. It's super relaxed about it.

But if I turn around and say, I want you to pick what coffee you're gonna drink for the rest of your life, right, then suddenly that becomes so much more intimidating. So downplay it, right? You'll get sign off a lot easier. Chances are they won't ever change anything, and if they do change things is gonna be relatively superficial things, right?

Because you've taken them through this process. So that's one thing. The other thing is don't ask for immediate feedback, right? Another thing that designers often do, they get to the end of the presentation and they get to, and now I want your feedback, right? And a train crash ensues at that point, right?

So one person will say, well, I don't like the green, another person says, well, I really liked the green but I wasn't sure about the typography. And then they start discussing which color would be best. And you just lose control of the whole situation, and you're pushing pixels around and it just turns into this major nightmare, right?

So, we don't wanna do that. Equally, we don't want people to feel pressured cuz a lot of the time it's like, if I'm getting sign it off right now, then I can move on, right? But actually, just builds pressure again, and makes everything become a bigger deal. So there is a better way of handling it, which is not to ask for feedback then but to say I will follow up, right?

I wanna give you time to digest the design before you provide your feedback. We're not gonna discuss it today, because I don't wanna get into design by committee, but I don't say that last bit. Instead, I wanna give you a chance to think it through, to ask any questions you've got about the design process and what we did.

And then I will follow up asking feedback once you've had a bit of time to digest.

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